Remember the days when saving meant collecting pennies in your piggy bank?

Got money on your mind? You’re not the only one. For many students, debt and tight finances are the norm. For this reason, IGNITE offers a number of free financial services for students such as Tax Clinic, bursaries, and the Financial Relief Program.

Whether your goal is to save up for a trip, grow your bank account, or develop a financial system you can stick to, there are a few tips you can apply to help you achieve your goals.

Here are 5 tips for achieving your financial goals:

Understand your finances

The first step in achieving your financial goals is to have a solid understanding of your finances. This means, knowing how much you’re making per paycheck, what your expenses are, and how much you’re spending on non-necessities. Taking an inventory will give you a clear picture of what your current financial situation is. Once you have an understanding of your finances, it will be easier to figure out what you need to do in order to reach your financial goals.

Elderly man taking off his sunglasses and squinting at a paper

Make sure your goal is realistic

Sure, dreaming big and setting large goals is great and all, but you have to make sure that your goal is achievable. Usually, the bigger the goal, the bigger the change that needs to be made, so make sure your financial goal is attainable. Overall, the more realistic your goal is the easier it will be to achieve it and stick to it.

Guy speaking into a microphone and making the money sign with his fingers

Break down long-term goals into shorter ones

Achieving big long-term goals doesn’t happen overnight. Goals take time to accomplish. When you’re looking at your big, long-term goals, it can seem overwhelming and be difficult to pinpoint where you should start. The trick to achieving your big goal is to break it down into smaller goals. As you conquer your smaller goals, you’ll be motivated by your success and keep going to the end.

Girl laying down on bills with money falling over her

Create a system

To achieve your financial goals you need to create a system for saving and spending. There are a number of ways that you could go about it. For example, one common method is to put a certain percentage of each paycheck into a savings account. If your goal is to save money, part of your system will have to include sacrificing something, such as your morning coffee runs or cutting down on the amount of take-out you get per week. It’s important to pick a system that works for you because it has to be something that’s sustainable. Remeber, consistency is key!

Paw taking a coin through a cardboard slot

Monitor your spending

The only way you’ll achieve your financial goals is by keeping yourself accountable and monitoring your spending. There are many different tools you can use to keep track of your spending. If you prefer the digital approach, you should look into using an app. If you’re into the traditional route, a pen and notebook approach will also do the trick. In the end, what matters is that you have some sort of system in place that will keep you accountable, how you do it is up to you!

Woman counting a huge stack of money

For more student saving tips, check out 5 ways to save money at school and how to reduce your student debt.